Recent Supreme Court and Federal Circuit cases have significantly unsettled the law regarding patentable subject matter through a series of conflicting opinions regarding everything from business methods to biotechnology, from computer graphics software to medical diagnostics. These decisions only further confound serious problems in existing legal theories of claim construction (understanding what patent claims means) and obviousness (deciding whether an invention is sufficiently new and inventive to merit a patent). The increased uncertainty in the law could have deleterious effects on innovation, as companies and entrepreneurs may forgo developing new technologies and businesses if they believe that patent protection may not be available to protect their investments.
Critics of these recent changes call into question the Supreme Court’s wisdom in its recent decisions and feel that there is a lack of understanding about how best to approach these questions. Check here frequently for commentary calling for a more principled approach to the questions of patentable subject matter and related patent issues.
*The perspectives expressed in the Bilski Blog, as well as in various sources cited therein from time to time, are those of the respective authors and do not necessarily represent the views of Fenwick & West LLP or its clients.